Atopic dermatitis, commonly known as eczema, is a chronic condition that causes dry, itchy, and inflamed skin. It can occur at any age, but it is common in young children. Eczema is not contagious, but itching can be a source of major discomfort. The good news is that the cosmetic dermatology Forest Hills team at Adult and Pediatric Dermatology offers treatments such as medicated creams or ointments for eczema. Below are other simple things that can help you manage eczema.
Take a daily shower or bath.
How you wash your skin is important, especially if you have eczema. Use warm rather than hot water when taking a shower or a bath. A mild cleanser is also better than regular soap, which can irritate your skin. Be gentle on your skin and avoid scrubbing. If you are taking a bath, sprinkle colloidal oatmeal in water and soak for less than ten minutes. Pat dry using a towel and apply moisturizer within three minutes while the skin is still damp.
Moisturize at least twice a day
Moisturizing is the best way to soothe the dry, itchy skin of atopic dermatitis. You may need to try different products before finding one that works; sometimes, you may need to combine two. You can try various products, including creams, ointments, lotions, sprays, lotions, or bath oils. For a child, you may need to apply a cream on their skin before school and an ointment before they go to bed. Ointments are greasy and therefore sting less when applied. Be sure to choose products free of alcohol, dyes, fragrances, and other ingredients that might irritate and dry the skin. Moisturize after every bathing and each time you wash your hands.
Do not scratch the itch.
Skin itching is a common symptom of eczema; however, don’t scratch or rub your skin when it itches. Instead, when you itch, press on or pat the skin. Scratching can cause further problems; you can break your skin, opening it up to infection. Applying a cold moisturizer or a cool gel can soothe your skin. If you can’t keep from scratching, cover the itchy area. For children, trimming their nails and having them wear socks or gloves at night might help.
Wear loose-fitting smooth-textured clothing
It helps to wear loose-fitting clothing made of soft, breathable, comfortable fabric like cotton. Rough, tight, or scratchy clothing can worsen skin irritation. Choose lightweight apparel that lets your skin breathe during hot days or when exercising. It is also vital to wash all new clothes before wearing them to remove any chemicals that could cause skin irritation. When washing your clothes, use a mild laundry detergent with no dyes or fragrances, and rinse your clothes multiple times to remove traces of soap.
Eczema is not an allergy, but your symptoms can worsen if you have allergies or are around allergens. Common allergens triggering eczema include dairy products, eggs, wheat, and acidic foods like tomatoes. Pollen, pet dander, mold, and dust can also cause symptoms to flare up. Therefore, avoid or limit your time around allergens.
If you need eczema treatment, visit your Adult and Pediatric Dermatology specialist.